What Is the Expression Theory of Art

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Art has evolved and regenerated itself many times during our human existence. These differences are defined through changes in styles under various theories. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century, a style known as Expressionism became popular. During this movement the artists were trying to use their artwork as a tool of expression toward life. It was mainly dominant in the nonrepresentational arts, such as abstract visual arts and music. It also was probably one of the most difficult movements to understand because the whole point of the piece lay within the artist. Not only was it a movement, it defined the act of art as a whole. From the beginning of time, each work of art, excluding replicas, show a way of expressing one's self. Every artist puts a piece of his or herself into their artwork. Who really is to determine what that work of art was meant to express?

One might ask, "Since most artwork is used as a way for an artist to express him or herself, what makes this expression period anything special?" On the general level "Expressionistic art, whether literature, painting, music, or cinema, often involves intense psychic disturbance and distortion in the perspective adopted by the artwork." "It is remote from the objective or realistic portrayals of the world, as well as from the happier emotions." To bring a more defined meaning to the overall theory of expressionism, two philosophers play a large role. The first notarized expressionistic philosopher was the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy who was followed by his counterpart R.G. Collingwood: a twentieth-century English philosopher. Together they hold the two best known expositions of the expression theory.

What make these two analyzers important is not what they agreed on, but rather on how they contrasted. They both conclude that during the expression theory, the main concern was to express emotion. The one question that draws the two apart is "What does it mean to...
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